GREER — Greenwood native Ben Martin jumped out to a good start early on Sunday for the third and final round of the BMW Charity Pro-Am at Thornblade Club in Greer, but the fatigue of the past two stop-and-start days of the tournament caught up with him.
“I could have made something happen today with a good start, but it was a little disappointing to finish the way I did,” Martin said. “It was still a great week overall.”
Martin, who played in his first tournament since January as he recovered from back and right hip injuries, was 3 strokes under par and two shots off the lead through his first five holes Sunday. Sunday’s start was delayed an hour in the morning, and then the tournament was shortened to three rounds because of rain.
A double-bogey on No. 11 and a bogey on No. 12 set him back, and Martin finished even for the day and tied for 43rd at 10 under par.
Despite Sunday’s struggles, the most important thing for Martin is that he felt capable of playing a full tournament for the first time in months.
“Felt great for the most part, for the whole week,” Martin said. “That’s really what this week was about, coming back and seeing how my body felt. And I was very happy for that, so I think that’s the biggest win.”
Conditions on the course didn’t help Martin’s effort to make a smooth transition from practicing to playing on the Tour. Play was suspended just before Martin was set to tee off Saturday afternoon, and his second round on Friday came with a delay of about three hours when he got four holes in. In the first round Thursday, Martin shot an 8-under 63 and had a share of the lead.
Rhein Gibson won the tournament, finishing 21 under for the tournament.
Many of Martin’s friends and family followed him around the course throughout the weekend. Martin, who lives in Greenville, said their presence made the return a little smoother.
“I always enjoy playing in and around home,” Martin said. “So it’s good to have family and friends out, especially this week when it’s a little slow. I get to go over the rope and say hi to some folks. It helps the time pass by a little bit.”
Martin will have five more starts on the Web.com Tour. He said he plans to play in the Wichita Open in Wichita, Kansas, in two weeks. During the summer, he plans to play two or three tournaments in a row to get back in shape.
“I think this summer will be great, even though there’s not necessarily anything on the line for me this summer,” Martin said. “I’ll have some events to get out there and keep improving on my game.”